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Hard spanking leads to child abuse charge

Zachariah Birnbaum

A Fargo man faces a felony child abuse charge after spanking an 11-month-old baby to get her to stop crying.

Zachariah Birnbaum told police he may have gone overboard in spanking the child, whose bottom was red and bruised-looking when authorities arrived, according to Cass County District Court documents related to the Class B felony charge of child abuse.

The charge carries up to 10 years in prison and pertains to cases involving children younger than 6.

Police were called to 2315 2nd Ave S. at about 5:31 p.m. Saturday with a report of child abuse.

"The mother left the child in his care for about 15 minutes, and the suspect spanked the victim a little too hard," said Fargo police Sgt. Mark Lykken.

The child's mother told police that when she returned home from the store, her daughter was crying and had a red face. Birnbaum was standing next to the child. The mother told police she immediately noticed her bottom was very red.

The child was not medically treated.

Birnbaum, 20, was arrested without incident. He is being in the Cass County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or bond bail.

Birnbaum's next court date is set for June 18.